A vast topic, Watson. And one that should remind us that of the truly great things about Ye Nette over the last decade or so is that you can hear strange things from everywhere. You don’t need to be in-the-know (a process that could, way back when, take ages) or spend a wad on rare vinyl. I just love is beat and psych records from the 1960s. Maybe as much as I loved watching David Ginola cross a ball. This obsession started with the Nuggets, Rubble and Pebbles compilations which you could pick up relatively inexpensively back in the late ‘80s. I always felt frustrated back then though; suspecting there was so much more to listen to than the dominant Anglo-American scene. Back then, back when I was brassic and had no way of finding out where to find yet more raw, semi-terrible, amateur, bedroom Rolling Stones rip offs, the obstacles of no money and no opportunity frustrated me immensely. But, lawks a mercy the internet changed that, as did reissue labels (like the incredible Ace Records) who were only too happy to indulge my whim. In that respect I am like millions of other blokes of uncertain age trying desperately to cling onto something that will never really be uncool; say the adidas training pumps my more sporty mates still favour.
Like any scene worth its salt, beat was a worldwide phenomenon. And the thousands of compilations and reissues and YouTube clips allow you to dive into completely random scenes. Here are some samplers to give you a gentle push into the wider world of beat and psych.
Fuck all that smooth coffee-drinking late 60’s Latin pop; here are some psych / surf classics from one of the best compilations of its sort; Lisbon’s Groovie Records’ “Brazilian Nuggets: Back From The Jungle”. Brazil seemingly rocked out quite hard at the time: take the tremendous cover of the Seeds’ “Pushin’ Too Hard” from Wanderléa, or the classic tropicalia rocker “Nem Sim, Nem Não” feat the celebrated Mr. Lanny on guitar. The bit when the singer keeps shouting “Lanny!” is magic. And the creepy surf instrumental, Murder is deffo one to pour a medium sized scotch out to.
Wanderléa – Vou Lhe Contar: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpQrKmbaBDU
Eduardo Araújo – Nem sim, nem não: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fP05FtRpRLk
The Blobs – Murder: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7p8stjIlC54
(Communist Bloc) Slovakia
Bet you didn’t know that there was a thriving beat scene behind the Iron Curtain now did you? I could go on a bit about this, but time is short. (Suffice to say I REALLY recommend you find “Paprikázz Fel! – Best Of The Hungarian Rock Scene 1965-1971” on Grey Past records.) Anyway: for starters let’s check The Beatmen. I first came across them on the Hide n Seek Vol 1 compilation who state they are a DDR band, but don’t be fooled: this bunch are Slovakian, dig? Despite their blatant Beatles-love, they really have something about them, the single has a bubbly Mod soul /psych feel which is very appealing. The B-side “As You Love Me” has a harmony-laden melody that’s on the lines of like the Fab’s “This Boy” but the reverb echoing around the recording studio has got something of “Splash” by Roky Erikson’s the Spades…
Beatmen – Stand Up and Go / As You Love Me: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgMHKnLi3bc
(“A Beatmen digression” This raucous clip of the band in action is worth watching just to see the gent in plus fours & the odd Commie security man in shades during the Cavern mock up scenes on what must be CZ’s take on “A Hard Day’s Night”… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1p_UFLnEtEQ&feature=related I’m sure the more serious amongst you could see this as the first flowerings of the Prague Spring caught on camera…)
We should mention a mid-sixties beat pop phenomenon from Benelux, ‘Eating Culture’. This marvel was brought to my attention via the “Biet-Het” compilations on Distortions Records; who showcase songs from The Eurifans singing about eating mustard, Het Pocomania and their straight-faced paean to the benefits of eating parsley, and this track by Ruud Knolraap & The Sweet Vegetable (Knoolraap almost being the Dutch word for a kohlrabi). The line ‘I love greens, new green beans’ is anything but psychedelic. Still: what’s all that about the CIA amidships?
Ruud Knolraap & The Sweet Vegetable – Nieuwe Sperziebonen:
Time for a mental and messy record from the Flemish heartlands, too; worth it in the main for the marvellous chorus and amateur psych phasing… with typical social commentary of the time; round a strong, free and independent lass in 1968. Some of the lyrics translate roughly as: ‘Men love her cos she’s just say yes’… Really?! Oooph.
Eddy Dyan and The Saints – Lady Sex http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQKznGHrniQ
A CLASSIC burn up from one of the best Japanese records ever made. A true meeting of the Japanese Heads led by producer Ikuzo Orita and the Mainstream – as epitomised by jazz/beat singer and TV MOR idol Akira Fuse. What stands out is not only Akira Fuse’s frantic vocal performance but his band’s pyrotechnics. On this LP they create a shamelessly massive trip, throwing everything into the stew: jazz, acid, prog, psych, soul (and obvious nods to MC5, Sly Stone); you name it.
Love Live Life + One – Love Will Make A Better You: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEzRgfRHxKA
RICHARD FOSTER – Follow Richard on @incendiarymagazine